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Old January 25th, 2005, 07:03 AM   #1
Syracusecards
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Article on Simoron Rice


The idea of a misunderstood athlete is a bit overused these days. Barry Bonds is misunderstood. Kobe Bryant is misunderstood. Ron Artest is misunderstood. Randy Moss is misunderstood. Terrell Owens is misunderstood.

You get the picture.

But in a world in which just about every brooding athlete believes he is truly misunderstood, there is at least one who doesn’t believe he is misunderstood. He just thinks people don’t want to understand him.

“There is kind of an age-old saying that has been said about me, and I’ve kind of come to accept it to be true,” Buccaneers DE Simeon Rice says. “For those that understand, there’s no explanation necessary. For those that don’t, no explanation will do.”

Nonetheless, Rice does his best to give people a glimpse into his world in his new book, “Rush to Judgment,” written with Mark Stewart and published by The Lyons Press. Since his college days, Rice has been seen as someone who marched to the beat of a different drummer. He made his own way, and he does his best in his book to explain why he lives his life as he does.

Mind you, he doesn’t try to convert anybody over to his way of thinking, even though he can’t understand why everyone doesn’t think like him. Instead, he decided to write the book to serve a higher purpose than just explaining himself to a world that wants everyone to fit into a certain category.

“More than anything, it’s a guide for any young kid who is going to go to college and have dreams of playing in the NFL,” Rice says. “It’s kind of a guideline or a script that this will follow if you take these routes and this is how you will be interpreted in certain lights. What will maintain you and what will deliver you from all the adversities that will come toward you is your state of mind and your state of purpose and the way that you are. That’s the realness. Oftentimes you can be in the NFL, and because we always kind of categorize or are quick to set standards, (the media) kind of write our stories for us … and you can begin to believe these things that are being said about you. You can think you’re better than you are, worse than you are. So what I did was try to bring it to a head about what you should maintain and what you should believe about yourself.”

Being yourself is a big theme when it comes to Simeon. He has no use for political correctness, and he is willing to put himself in front of the firing line if he believes that what he is saying is right. Controversy has followed him his entire career, but for Rice, he doesn’t believe that he is controversial at all. He simply says what he believes, and somehow, some way, that is a problem for others.

For instance, in the book Rice details the circumstances surrounding his comments that the late Pat Tillman, a former teammate of Rice’s in Arizona, may have seen “too many Rambo movies” and enlisted in the Army after 9/11 because he wasn’t a very good football player. The comments, made on Jim Rome’s radio show, were widely criticized at the time and especially following Tillman’s death. But for Rice, he never believed he had said anything disparaging because he didn’t have any problem with Tillman’s decision. He wasn’t trying to criticize or make fun of Tillman.

“Back then when they asked me, Pat was alive,” Rice says. “Pat was a teammate of mine. When I went into Jim Rome’s studios, he was like, ‘Why would somebody join the military?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. Rambo movies?’ I was joking. You see what I’m saying. Now it’s like, ‘Simeon, can’t you take that back?’ It’s the truth. I can’t even take that back because it wasn’t meant to be malicious. I was just joking. Then the interview goes (on the air), and it was funny how people reacted. They were like, ‘I hate you, (N-word).’ ‘You’re a big-mouth (N-word).’ And I was like, ‘Wow.’

“It’s like for me, it’s like a starter’s pistol went off, and then bombs started dropping,” Rice says. “I’d be like, damn, that was a starter’s pistol. It’s a cap gun. And this fool is pulling out a real gun. You know what I mean? This is nothing. This isn’t meant to hurt. It’s comedy. Maybe I just didn’t communicate what I was really trying to say because the tone of the conversation was, ‘How can a player give up that much money?’ So Rome asked me, ‘How can someone turn away millions of dollars?’ I was like, first of all, it’s not like we’re talking about Jerry Rice. It’s not like it’s someone with a legendary career. (Tillman) wanted to leave his mark. And I kept saying that. I kept saying that this cat wanted to leave his mark, and he wasn’t going to leave his mark on this game. He feels compelled, he feels like a calling for this, so money is not the factor. I’m looking at it like football isn’t a big deal to (Tillman) anymore. But that didn’t come across well. The backlash for me was something that I learned from. I didn’t mean anything malicious.”

The Simeon Rice experience — and trust us, folks, it’s an experience — comes through loud and clear in the book. He’s much more than just a football player. He certainly is focused on being the best defensive end the game has ever known, but his life doesn’t begin and end on the gridiron. In fact, for as much as he loves the game, football is more of a distraction. It is his job, something that he prepares for and loves and puts all of himself into, but it doesn’t shape the man.

During a 45-minute interview about his book, I asked Rice exactly six questions. The rest of the time, Rice talked not only about why he wanted to write a book, but also about his principles and beliefs in life. “Rush to Judgment” is more about how he puts those principles and beliefs into practice without preaching that others should follow him.

Rice also talks about the two-faced nature of the game, especially when it comes to free agency. When Rice’s contract in Arizona expired following the 2000 season, he was stunned to discover that he had a reputation throughout the league of being a problem in the locker room.

“I had more sacks in five years than anybody else in the history of this game,” Rice says. “I was the fastest one to reach 100 sacks in NFL history and all that. So I’m going out there on the market and I’m wondering, ‘So, what does the market have to offer?’ And the market was like, ‘Nothing. Simeon is a cancer in the locker room.’ I was like, ‘Wow, where did all this stem from?’ I was the same cat after practice; this was like fake world to me. This was like ‘Knots Landing.’ This is like ‘Dallas.’ ”

Rice says all this both in the book and in interviews without a hint of cockiness. He’s confident in his place in the football hierarchy, and the numbers back him up. He has posted double-digit sacks in seven of his nine NFL seasons, yet he has been selected to the Pro Bowl just three times. He was shut out this season after posting 12 sacks and continuing to be a dominating defender on the outside.

But again, Rice’s book isn’t about him trying to pump up his place in history. Far from it. He makes it clear that he isn’t looking for awards and honors, and he certainly didn’t write the book to try to draw more attention to himself on the field.

“I know I’m the best,” Rice says. “I don’t need anybody to qualify it. I’m sitting on top of this league every year. I’m in the top two or top three in sacks every year. That lets me know where I stand from a layman’s standpoint, from a playing standpoint. I know the games I go out and dominate.”

Rice decided to put the book together because he believes there is a difference between Simeon Rice the NFL player and Simeon Rice the man. Rice the NFL player is viewed by many not as a cerebral man whose interests lie far outside the gridiron. Instead, many see him as a problem player who is a close friend of controversy.

“I’m not depicted in that (good) light,” Rice says. “I’m more of a renegade. I’m required because I’m Darth Vader. They’ve got Luke Skywalker. They’ve got the individuals that they love. They’ve got the cats they revere in this league. They’ve got the Peyton Mannings, and for good reason. He’s a damn good player, but he’s got this image that they create that makes it seem like he’s so pure and nice, and it’s dope. It’s a good package. And I like Peyton because he’s a good dude. But what I’m saying is that they sell that image.”

The book not only allowed Rice to provide a guideline for others, but maybe more importantly, it allowed him to review from whence he came. From a tough, no-excuses upbringing on the south side of Chicago to the excesses with women as a rising star at the University of Illinois to the fame and riches of the NFL, “Rush to Judgment” is a non-filtered look at the life of a rare man.

“I think to answer the age-old misconception of who I am, what I stand for, what I’m about and how I go about my lifestyle and what I do,” Rice says of why he decided to write the book. “From the past experience in the NFL, I was always vastly misinterpreted just from the way I speak, to the way I identify myself with greatness and the way I went about my role as a leader on the team. As opposed to just letting those things go, I kind of wanted to drop bread crumbs back to how I came about to being how I am.”

Misunderstood. Plenty of athletes claim to be that without taking the time to explain themselves. “Rush to Judgment” allows Rice to do just that, all without trying to be a part of the crowd.

“I don’t live in the world of the crowd,” Rice says. “If the crowd screamed because I’m doing well, that don’t mean s--- to me. If they boo me because I’m doing bad, that don’t mean s--- to me. I’m going to live by my own certain code, the keys of my life, the successes of my life, the beauty of my life, and the will of my life. I’m going to live by the standards that God set forth for me to live, not in the minds of individuals. Some people wake up, and they’ve got the noose around their neck and hundreds of pills. They’ve got the windows closed and the sheets over their heads because they don’t want to face the reality. I can face mine because I understand that it’s not so tough. I understand that sports are my career and I love it, but it doesn’t shape my life. It doesn’t define everything about me. It doesn’t. It’s bread crumbs.”




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Old January 25th, 2005, 07:11 AM   #2
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Its a good thing I won't buy his book.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 07:21 AM   #3
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Call me crazy, but I agree with him on certain levels.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 07:56 AM   #4
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Call me crazy, but I agree with him on certain levels.
I guess we're both "crazy" because I do too.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:00 AM   #5
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Good luck with the book Simleon.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #6
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And, after this season, we all know that Rice is cancer in the locker room at Tampa Bay. Guy just can't look in the mirror and realize that football players are meant to shut up and just play the game.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Scott MS
And, after this season, we all know that Rice is cancer in the locker room at Tampa Bay. Guy just can't look in the mirror and realize that football players are meant to shut up and just play the game.
What happened this year that proved Rice was the problem in Tampa?
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:13 AM   #8
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Near as I can find this is the text of what he said to Jim Rome.


"He really wasn't that good, not really," Rice said. "He was good enough to play in Arizona, [but] that's just like the XFL."

"I think it's very admirable, actually. You've got to give kudos to a guy like that because he did it for his own reasons. Maybe it's the Rambo movies, maybe it's Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, whatever compels him."
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:19 AM   #9
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You know...it's funny. I live in Champaign, where Simeon played College ball. I thought he was excellent then and I still think he is excellent. I am a Cards fan first and a football fan a particles distance behind. I have always loved Simeon's way of saying what is on his mind. He is maturing now and communicating the same ideas in a way that is more professional.
Compare to your job. You work for a company that takes no pride or doesn't have the ability to place a qualitative group of individuals in its workforce. You are setting records but your company is failing. What would you do? Hmmmmm...this company is horrible...it sucks...I hate this job...so on and so forth. Anyway, he was right but unable to communicate his ideas in such a way for the populace to understand. Instead, the die hard cards fans immeditely attacked him. Of course, more out of a desire for him to still make sacks in a crds uni then because they didn't know that the cards sucked. Point blank...the cards throughout the eighties and nineties sucked.
Simeon is a player...above a team and above allegiance. He performs and gets paid. When it is all said in done, he will be considered a great DE and will have plenty of cash to chill with. As for us, we weathered the twenty year storm as cards fans and hopefully get a championship.
Peace all...and GOOOOOOOOOOO CARDSSSSSSSSSSSSSs
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Russ Smith
What happened this year that proved Rice was the problem in Tampa?
Back in December, Rice made a comment about Gruden not having the team disciplined. Maybe Rice isn't the problem, but I always thought the best thing for players to do would be to address their issues privately with the coach, not through the media.

Simeon likes to use the media -- he called Arizona an armpit and openly critized the team during his last few months here.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Scott MS
Back in December, Rice made a comment about Gruden not having the team disciplined. Maybe Rice isn't the problem, but I always thought the best thing for players to do would be to address their issues privately with the coach, not through the media.

Simeon likes to use the media -- he called Arizona an armpit and openly critized the team during his last few months here.
Unless he changed since Oakland Gruden probably doesn't have them disciplined. Hell Gruden had a DUI himself when he was coaching the Raiders and his "punishment" was teaching a football 101 class for women, which he was already teaching.

My opinion on the armpit quote has not changed, Simeon WANTED out, and he knew the best way to get out was to so piss off the fans and the organization, that they wouldn't consider franchising him, so he "acted the fool" to made damn sure we let him walk. Stupid, childish, immature, not professional for sure, but I am pretty sure he was just trying to get out. I don't think he was talking about Arizona the state, but arizona the NFL franchise that lost year after year.

I don't condone what he said but I do think he gets an undeserved amount of rips here (the Simian , or Simoron stuff) for example.

Hell look at Shaun King ,the guy played here ONE year, threw 84 passes and people hate him. I assume much of that on this board is because this_guy hyped him up, alot of us wanted him to start because josh was doing nothing, and we all got smacked by a dose of reality when King stunk it up. BLake gets it from people here too, again guy played one year here. Imagine how hated either of them would be if they'd played here for 6 years?
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Old January 25th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #12
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"He’s much more than just a football player. He certainly is focused on being the best defensive end the game has ever known"

[SIZE=4]Only in his blanken mind...!!!!!!!!!!!!![/SIZE]


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Old January 25th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #13
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Call me crazy, but I agree with him on certain levels.
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Old January 25th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #14
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I do
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Old January 25th, 2005, 02:54 PM   #15
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Sim is one of a kind. A very bad kind IMO.

The age old saying he refers to: "for those that understand, there's no explanation necessary. For those that don't, no explanation will do."

I'd like Sim to tell us just WHO IS IT that understands him NOW?

No one does.

He lied about how the Rome/Tillman thing went down, I heard it live, and Russ reposted the dialog.

Sim should try this age old saying: "Before you seek to be understood, seek to understand."
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